Sales and Sales Management Blog

February 5, 2015

Objection? Buying Signal? Maybe Neither–Maybe You’re Being Put Under the Microscope

A few years ago I wrote an article titled “How to Take the Sting Out of the Price Question Early in the Sale.”  In the course of the article I argued that it is natural for a prospect to ask about price–and often to do so too early in the sale, before the seller has had an opportunity to create real value for the prospect—because price is one of the factors prospects use as they seek to qualify the seller and the purchasing opportunity.

In response to that article I received numerous emails and comments from salespeople and sales leaders that they had never thought about the idea that the prospect is qualifying them and their offering at the same time they are trying to qualify the prospect.

Yet the prospect’s qualifying the seller and the seller’s value/solution is the crux of the whole sales process.

We are all familiar with the concepts of qualifying the prospect, investigating needs, developing a solution and creating real value for the prospect, overcoming objections, and the other aspects of making a sale.  All of these concepts are views of the sales process from the seller’s perspective.  These are the constructs that we as sellers tend to concentrate on.

We then view the prospect’s questions as either worrisome objections that are nothing but a smokescreen or are out-n-out buying signals.  For many of us, the questions and actions of the prospect are either those of an enemy or those of someone telling us they are ready to buy.

What if neither of those choices is true?

What if all of those questions and the statements by the prospect, instead of being obstacles to our sale or indications of their desire to consummate the purchase, are simply questions and statements to help them qualify us and our offering? 

What if they are doing the same to us as we are doing to them?

If that is the case, then that means we’re neither dealing with an enemy to be overcome nor are we dealing with someone asking us to close them.  Instead we’re dealing with a human being who wants to know whether or not we’re trustworthy, whether or not our offering is appropriate for them, whether or not we’re wasting their time.

In other words, they are in the process of qualifying us just as much as we’re qualifying them.  When we qualify a prospect we ask questions and probe to discover who we’re dealing with and what we might be able to do for them.  When we’re asking questions we’re not trying to play the ‘gotcha’ game.  Most of us aren’t trying to trap them into a sale.  We’re honestly seeking information that allows us to know whether or not we are in front of a real prospect with a real need that we can help solve in a way that produces real value for them.

The prospect is going through the same process with us.  Whether they are conscious of it or not, they’re trying to determine whether or not we are someone they want to do business with, and then, whether or not our product/service/company presents any real solid worthwhile value for them.

The traditional terms sellers think in—overcoming objections, closing the sale, etc.—tend to set up an adversarial relationship where we are on the lookout for the dreaded objection and the opportunity to pounce with the closing question.

However, if we recognize that the sales process involves both parties qualifying one another and that the qualifying process involves the investigation and questioning of each party, we can relax and begin to address the prospect’s questions for what they really are—a legitimate desire to find out who we are and whether or not we are someone they want to work with.

Go forth and qualify—and let yourself be qualified.  It’s a whole lot more fun to sell when you’re working with a prospect to mutually qualify one another than it is to try to out fox and overcome an adversary.

 

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January 27, 2015

Do You Talk To Your Prospects and Clients or Do You Talk At Them?

Knowledge should be one of the most powerful tools in our toolbox. 

Knowing how to use specialized industry vocabularies should also be one of our basic and power tools.

In reality, for many of us, knowledge and specialized lingo are powerful—in costing us business.

Naturally a great many new salespeople are tempted to try to impress prospects and clients by demonstrating their product knowledge and slinging their newly learned industry vocabulary around.  They tend to oversell, answer questions no prospect has ever had, dazzle with words the prospect and client may not be familiar with.  They talk about the fine points of their product or service; discuss how their service or product will impact ROI; how best to onboard new employees or products or services;  how their product or service creates a new paradigm to address the prospect’s issues or needs; and the list goes on.

Impact ROI?  I see, you mean whether or not it makes me more money than it costs.  Onboarding new employees or products or services?  I get it, you mean purchasing and integrating a new product or service or hiring and orienting a new employee.  Creating a new paradigm to address issues or needs?  You mean a different way of dealing with the problem, right? 

You can say ROI, onboarding, or paradigm, or you could just talk to your prospect.  Some say that if you want credibility with your prospects and clients you have to speak their language.  I don’t have a problem with that in the least—if you’re actually speaking your prospect’s language.  But how many prospects actually talk about onboarding a new product or service or creating a new paradigm to address an issue or problem?  And there’s certainly something to be said about just talking to the prospect in plain English.

And very often new sellers butcher their newly acquired vocabulary and confound and frustrate their prospects with their enthusiastic demonstration of their knowledge of the minutiae of their product or service.  Many lose more sales than they capture because of their lack of discipline and their need to impress.

Unfortunately I’ve noticed over the past three years that this desire to impress isn’t confined to new sellers.  I consistently run across experienced sellers who should know better that are making the same rookie mistakes.  The only real difference between these experienced sellers and new salespeople is experienced sellers tend to have a better grasp of the industry lingo.

In the current tough selling environment even experienced sellers are falling into the trap of trying to oversell and to impress with their knowledge and ‘deep’ understanding of the prospect’s issues.  We tend to pull out all the stops and often end up losing our discipline and the prospect’s attention.  We try to force the sale.

Rather than creating new clients, we end up alienating them. 

Whether you’re a relatively new seller bursting with enthusiasm and wanting to impress your prospects or an experienced seller feeling the pressure to produce, you need to step back and relax.  Giving in to the pressure to oversell and force the sale is self defeating.  Address your prospect’s needs and leave the unnecessary demonstration of knowledge and the impressive vocabulary at the office. 

January 14, 2013

Are You Really The One Being Qualified?

Every seller is concerned about qualifying their prospects.  We all want to be in front of prospects who can buy—that is, who not only have a need or desire but also the means to consummate the purchase.  Qualifying a prospect can be simple or complex depending on how many criteria a suspect must meet in order to be classified as a quality prospect. 

Consequently we sellers try to use as many tools at our disposal as possible to learn about and quality those we think could be quality prospects for us.  And one of the most important and oft used tools is the question, open ended, probing questions in particular.

Unfortunately we seldom, if ever, consider that the prospect is doing exactly the same thing to us—they are actively trying to determine if we are someone they would buy from.    

Many of us have been taught that our sequence of events should be: qualify, present, close, answer objections, close again.  This sequence has a number of variations, some quite complex, but in the end, this is the format a great many of use have been taught.

Although we view our questions as important discovery questions, we tend to view the prospect’s questions as either worrisome objections or diversions that are nothing but a smokescreen or are out-n-out buying signals. For many of us, the questions and actions of the prospect are either those of an enemy or those of someone telling us they are ready to buy.

What if neither of those choices is true?

What if all of those questions and the statements by the prospect, instead of being obstacles to our sale or indications of their desire to consummate the purchase, are simply questions and statements to help them qualify us and our offering?

What if they are doing the same to us as we are doing to them?

If that is the case, then that means we’re neither dealing with an enemy to be overcome nor are we dealing with someone asking us to close them. Instead we’re dealing with a human being who wants to know whether or not we’re trustworthy, whether or not our offering is appropriate for them, whether or not we’re wasting their time.

In other words, they are in the process of qualifying us just as much as we’re qualifying them. When we qualify a prospect we ask questions and probe to discover who we’re dealing with and what we might be able to do for them. When we’re asking questions we’re not trying to play the ‘gotcha’ game. Most of us aren’t trying to trap them into a sale. We’re honestly seeking information that allows us to know whether or not we are in front of a real prospect with a real need that we can help solve in a way that produces real value for them.

The prospect is going through the same process with us. Whether they are conscious of it or not, they’re trying to determine whether or not we are someone they want to do business with and then, whether or not our product/service/company presents any real solid worthwhile value for them.

The traditional terms sellers think in—overcoming objections, closing the sale, etc.—tend to set up an adversarial relationship where we are on the lookout for the dreaded objection and the opportunity to pounce with the closing question.

However, if we recognize that the sales process involves both parties qualifying one another and that the qualifying process involves the investigation and questioning of each party, we can relax and begin to address the prospect’s questions for what they really are—a legitimate desire to find out who we are and whether or not we are someone they want to work with.

Recognize an honest qualifying question for what it is.  Maybe those questions you are trying to overcome, especially about price or quantity or delivery or usage, aren’t objections or buying signals at all but are just honest discovery questions.

Go forth and qualify—and let yourself be qualified. It’s a whole lot more fun to sell when you’re working with a prospect to mutually qualify one another than it is to try to out fox and overcome an adversary.

 

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August 9, 2012

Nobody Likes to be Sold? Au, Contraire

One of the sales truisms today is that no one likes to be sold but people love to buy.  This phrase is tossed around with such casualness and is so oft repeated that it has become accepted without question.

And why wouldn’t it be accepted since its pithy, it sounds so common sense and a ton of salespeople don’t like it when another salesperson tries to sell them and they naturally feel that everyone else will have the same reaction?

The problem is it isn’t common sense—and it isn’t true.

I know lots of people who love to be sold.  My wife likes to be sold.  A couple of my good friends like to be sold.  I have clients who like to be sold.

If nobody likes to be sold how come I know quite a few people who like to be sold?

The answer is quite simple—people aren’t all the same.  We don’t live in a world where everyone has the same likes, the same wants, the same needs, the same anything including the same way to shop.

Some people want to buy, others want to be sold.

What a wonderful world where there’s variety in opinions and wants and needs—and desires when it comes to buying or being sold.

But the very fact that people are different is what makes selling so difficult.

If we want to be successful in sales we have to know our prospect—and that means knowing how they shop—by buying or being sold.

If you buy into the myth that no one wants to be sold and thus treat everyone as “buyers” you run the risk of missing the sale to those who want to be sold.

Likewise, if you treat everyone as a prospect who needs to be sold, you’ll blow your opportunity with those who want to buy.

Making assumptions about the prospect is the real issue.  Allowing yourself time to get to know and understand your prospect will tell you who the prospect is and what they want from the relationship.  They’ll let you know if they want to buy or to be sold.

Once they let you know it’s your job to meet them where they are and deal with them on their terms, not where you wish they were.

June 3, 2011

Hey, Now, Just Who’s Qualifying Whom Here?

Recently I wrote an article titled “How to Take the Sting Out of the Price Question Early in the Sale.”  In the course of the article I argued that it is natural for a prospect to ask about price–and often to do so too early in the sale, before the seller has had an opportunity to create real value for the prospect—because price is one of the factors prospects use as they seek to qualify the seller and the purchasing opportunity.

In response to that article I received numerous emails and comments from salespeople and sales leaders that they had never thought about the idea that the prospect is qualifying them and their offering at the same time they are trying to qualify the prospect.

Yet the prospect’s qualifying the seller and the seller’s value/solution is the crux of the whole sales process.

We are all familiar with the concepts of qualifying the prospect, investigating needs, developing a solution and creating real value for the prospect, overcoming objections, and the other aspects of making a sale.  All of these concepts are views of the sales process from the seller’s perspective.  These are the constructs that we as sellers tend to concentrate on.

We then view the prospect’s questions as either worrisome objections that are nothing but a smokescreen or are out-n-out buying signals.  For many of us, the questions and actions of the prospect are either those of an enemy or those of someone telling us they are ready to buy.

What if neither of those choices is true?

What if all of those questions and the statements by the prospect, instead of being obstacles to our sale or indications of their desire to consummate the purchase, are simply questions and statements to help them qualify us and our offering? 

What if they are doing the same to us as we are doing to them?

If that is the case, then that means we’re neither dealing with an enemy to be overcome nor are we dealing with someone asking us to close them.  Instead we’re dealing with a human being who wants to know whether or not we’re trustworthy, whether or not our offering is appropriate for them, whether or not we’re wasting their time.

In other words, they are in the process of qualifying us just as much as we’re qualifying them.  When we qualify a prospect we ask questions and probe to discover who we’re dealing with and what we might be able to do for them.  When we’re asking questions we’re not trying to play the ‘gotcha’ game.  Most of us aren’t trying to trap them into a sale.  We’re honestly seeking information that allows us to know whether or not we are in front of a real prospect with a real need that we can help solve in a way that produces real value for them.

The prospect is going through the same process with us.  Whether they are conscious of it or not, they’re trying to determine whether or not we are someone they want to do business with and then, whether or not our product/service/company presents any real solid worthwhile value for them.

The traditional terms sellers think in—overcoming objections, closing the sale, etc.—tend to set up an adversarial relationship where we are on the lookout for the dreaded objection and the opportunity to pounce with the closing question.

However, if we recognize that the sales process involves both parties qualifying one another and that the qualifying process involves the investigation and questioning of each party, we can relax and begin to address the prospect’s questions for what they really are—a legitimate desire to find out who we are and whether or not we are someone they want to work with.

Go forth and qualify—and let yourself be qualified.  It’s a whole lot more fun to sell when you’re working with a prospect to mutually qualify one another than it is to try to out fox and overcome an adversary.

June 1, 2011

Guest Article: “Change Your Words, Improve Your Results to Increase Sales,” by Leanne Hoagland-Smith

Filed under: Communication,Handling Prospect,sales,selling — Paul McCord @ 7:49 am
Tags: , ,

Change Your Words, Improve Your Results to Increase Sales
 by Leanne Hoagland-Smith

Change or die writes Alan Deutschman. Yet many small business owners including crazy busy sales people continue to do what they have always done and then complain about not being able to increase sales.  This seems to be a continual whine especially from those engaged in coaching, consulting or those who provided other types of professional business services.

During the last couple of years as the market contracted due to global economic forces, more and more executives have faced early retirement to reduction in force. Many of these individuals have started their own consulting or coaching businesses, some by buying franchises and others starting from scratch.

With an even more crowded marketplace filled with hungry new small business owners, sometimes finding new clients willing to let loose of their profits to stuff into someone else’s pockets becomes a greater challenge.  So what is the eager entrepreneur supposed to do to avoid starving?

Maybe it is time to take a walk through a grocery store, some other retail store or even an automobile dealership to find that answer. What do you see?   Shelves, aisles and car lots filled with products. These products range from good, better or best. 

In grocery stores, you can purchase hamburger at 80% lean, 88% lean or 95% lean. Then you can hop over to your favorite retail store and find similar pricing.

Car manufacturers have this good, better or best product selection honed to a razor sharp edge. Even the most economical cars can quickly go from good to best with the additional equipment from automatic transmissions to sun-roof or is it moon roof?

What would happen if you or your organization embraced this good, better best approach with your pricing? And then instead of offering a multi thousand dollar project covering 4 months, provide monthly pricing for a six to 12 months. Given that execution is still a problem for many small business owners, by becoming a more long term supportive buying partner you have potentially demonstrated not only your value, but your understanding of your client’s cash flow.  You’re your trust and emotional connections have been even more firmly established. Sales Training Coaching Tip:  Trust and emotions are Sales Buying Rules One and Two.

If a potential client wants to improve his or her situation, why should that want have a negative impact on his or her cash flow?  Of course, the ego driven, I need sales quota now individual sales person or sales manager may respond with “We don’t do that!” or “This is our firm and non-negotiable pricing!”  At this juncture, the salesperson or sales manager’s wants are going before the potential customer’s wants.  This desire is not a good way to earn a sale or better yet repeat business.

Case Study on Good, Better, Best

The Problem

A business coach required a quick infusion of new sales as cash flow was becoming a serious challenge.  He looked to using an assessment that had worked as a marketing freebie to build the relationship as a quick solution to securing additional quick revenue.

The Solution

By reconfiguring or repositioning the deliverables for this assessment into 3 tiers of good, better, best, he was able to provide additional value for each offering.  This reconfiguration allowed him to even increase his price for the best offering.  Sales Training Coaching Tip:  Reconfiguration or repositioning is one of the three factors in providing sustainable business solutions.

The Results

Within 3 days of this new good, better, best approach, he met with a potential client who had been referred to him. During the meeting, she asked if he had any information about this assessment. My client pulled out a one page marketing flyer that briefly explained the good, better, best solutions. His potential client read the information, then pulled out her checkbook and wrote a check for the best solution.

Beyond having a check in hand, the good, better, best solution reduced his sales cycle time by three quarters to two thirds.  Another result is the potential client had the perception the sales decision was all in her control.

Why Good, Better, Best Works

There are several reasons why the good, better, best approach works. First is the inherent preexisting value within each of the words.  Since people buy on value unique to them (the Third Sales Buying Rule), they have already predetermined the value associated with each of these three words.

Another reason are the words good, better, best elicit a far stronger emotional reaction than words such as option or alternative.  Since the Second Sales Buying Rule is people buy first on emotion, then justify that decision with logic, emotions are key.

Finally, this approach helps to overcome one if not more of the Five Sales Objections of you, your company, your solutions, your price and your delivery.

For the last several years, I have lived by this motto:  Change your words; Improve your results.  By understanding the impact of words and aligning my practice to those new words, I have been able to increase sales. Maybe it is time for you to consider a similar change in your pricing and business model?

Leanne Hoagland-Smith

Author of Be the Red Jacket  http://bit.ly/1Q9mnV219.508.2859– CT (nearChicago,IL)
www.increase-sales-coach.com

October 29, 2010

Guest Article: “The Biggest Goof Sellers Make When Dealing with Hot Prospects,” by Jill Konrath

Filed under: Closing Sales,Handling Prospect,Qualifying Prospects — Paul McCord @ 8:19 am
Tags: , ,

The Biggest Goof Sellers Make When Dealing with Hot Prospects
By Jill Konrath

I dream of hot prospects who call me up and say, “We’ve heard good things about your company. We want to make a decision quickly. We’re hoping you can help us out.”

Occasionally my sales fantasies turn into realities. When it happens, it’s so easy to be seduced by this low-handing fruit. Outwardly, I try to appear calm, cool and collected – a true professional. But inside, every inch of my body wants to scream out, “Take me! Take me!”

Okay. I’m being a bit dramatic here, but I really want to make my point.

It’s so easy to be tempted by these opportunities. And when you yield to this temptation, you make fatal mistakes—ones that can totally derail your sales efforts and cause you to lose the business.

True, But Embarrassing Story

Let me give you a personal example, to show you how easy it is to get caught up in this seduction.

A few years ago, my primary business focus was working with large corporations in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area when they were launching new products. My expertise? Helping them shorten time to revenue on new product introductions.

I’d just launched SellingtoBigCompanies.com to help small businesses gain access to my expertise. It was my new baby. I’d invested tons of time and lots of love to get it up and running.

When the phone rang that day, I answered absentmindedly. But when the caller announced that he was from Southwest Airlines, I snapped to attention. He’d been all over my new Web site, was very impressed, and also very interested in my training programs.

The airline was going to be putting its salespeople through training in the not-too-distant future and was evaluating its options. When I asked who else he was looking at, I was delighted to be included with the industry biggies.

Mr. Southwest had dozens of questions about my content, delivery models, remote training options, learning reinforcement and more. I answered every single one of them in glorious detail.

When he requested a proposal, I asked, “How soon?” When he answered that he wanted it in two days, I quickly agreed.

The proposal I sent to him via e-mail covered everything we had talked about in our conversation, plus a full range of pricing options. It was a masterpiece. I had high hopes that this opportunity would take my business to a whole new level.

I never heard from Mr. Southwest again. Even though I contacted him many times, he never called back.

Lesson Learned

It was my own fault. I mistakenly let my own eagerness to land this marquis customer outweigh my common sense.

The truth is I really needed the business at that time. After spending many months and lots of money to create SellingtoBigCompanies.com, I was running short on cash. I should have known better, but I was seduced by the opportunity.

In retrospect, I failed to find out if Mr. Southwest was just exploring his options or actually in the final stages of decision making. It’s highly likely he was just doing the former.

Had I known that, I would never have written a detailed proposal. Instead, I would have focused on helping him determine the business value of making a change. I would have used my expertise to help him sell the concept internally and establish decision criteria favorable to my solution.

Over and over again, I see other sellers make similar mistakes when they have a hot prospect on the line. Like me, they expound on their capabilities and benefits. They willingly provide detailed information and do tons of extra work to create proposals or presentations—anything the prospects want.

While that puts you into the “nice” seller category, it’s not a good business decision to invest tons of time and effort to land a fantasy customer. Nor does it help your prospects make the best decision for their organization.

If Mr. Southwest was actually deciding in a couple days, I should have addressed the fact that I was a small boutique firm that didn’t compete head-on with the larger companies he was looking at.

Doing business with me would have been risky. I knew that. But I didn’t want to bring it up; I was hoping he wouldn’t notice!

I was so blinded by the opportunity that I was willing to do anything that he asked. It was delusional on my part. Wishful thinking. Hopeful. When we feel this seduction, we need to remind ourselves that “hope is not a strategy.”

While hot prospects may hold the promise of big paychecks, there’s often much that still needs to be determine if it’s a good fit for your company.

Don’t be overeager. Instead be ruthlessly realistic. Detach from the fantasy and assess your true chances. Bring up the tough questions. .

Why? Because it’s the right thing to do for both you and your prospect.

Jill Konrath, sales strategist and bestselling author of Selling to Big Companies and SNAP Selling, is a frequent speaker at annual sales meetings, kick-off events and professional conferences. Visit her website

December 7, 2009

Guest Article: “The Don Quixote Approach to Opportunity Assessement,” by Jonathan Farrington

The Don Quixote Approach To Opportunity Assessment
by Jonathan Farrington

Emerging salespeople typically believe that all business is good business and to an extent, I can understand this viewpoint. If you are trying to make a name for yourself, being put under pressure by your sales manager to get “runs on the board” and earn the respect of the more experienced and successful members of the team, it is difficult to walk away from any opportunity if you believe you have the remotest chance of winning it.

However, it is essential that more seasoned professionals fully understand both the value and importance of rigorous objective qualification, not just at the front end but right the way through the sales cycle. Qualification is a process not a single event and even internal and reactive salespeople should be fully skilled in asking a small number of basic questions regarding precise requirements, time scales, budget, competition etc before they are prepared to reveal their price and delivery.

As the value of the product, service or solution increases, the depth of the qualification should increase proportionally.

External salespeople have the opportunity to meet with prospective customers and it is far easier to extract information face to face than it is via the telephone, however, it is vital that some initial answers are elicited prior the that first exploratory meeting in order to ensure that the meeting will be worthwhile to both parties. With sales costs spiralling upwards and sales time becoming limited, considerable prudence is required on the part of the salesperson.

During that first meeting, a considerable amount of detail can and should be uncovered e.g. background and history of the company, the key individuals, the composition of the DMU (Decision Making Unit) if there is one, timescales, budget, competition, current suppliers, buying criteria etc. Only by rigorous questioning will the salesperson be able to answer the following questions when they get back to the office: Is there a requirement/need that my company can satisfy? Is it winnable? Do I want it?

The very best sales professionals will not pursue the opportunity, after proper objective analysis, if the answer to any of those questions is “No”. They will rather invest their precious selling time seeking out and closing opportunities that will provide a profitable return on that investment.

At the very highest selling levels i.e. strategic “big-ticket” selling and marketing, clearly the sales cycle is much more protracted, complex and typically moves through four stages i.e.

■Rigorous Opportunity Assessment
■Develop A Strategy
■Present The Solution and Re-Assess The Opportunity
■Gain Formal Commitment, Sign The Order and Develop

In Summary:
Having a tilt at every windmill that presents itself, is neither practical nor profitable. Qualification is a core competency that every professional salesperson should take on board as quickly as possible. Working to the maxim that “All business is good business” is unrealistic and totally erroneous. It takes just as long to work an unprofitable opportunity through the pipeline only to lose it at the death, as it does a profitable one – the ability to determine which is which, can have a huge impact on your ultimate success in a front-line sales role

Jonathan Farrington is a globally recognized business coach, mentor, author and sales strategist, who has guided hundreds of companies and thousands of individuals around the world towards optimum performance levels. He is Chairman of The Sales Corporation, CEO of Top Sales Associates and Senior Partner at The JF Consultancy based in London and Paris. Early in 2007, Jonathan formed Top Sales Associates (TSA) to promote the very best sales related solutions and products. TSA is now a subsidiary of The Sales Corporation, based in London and Paris.  Visit his website

November 23, 2009

Guest Article: “Avoiding Self-Sabotage on Sales Calls,” by Art Sobczak

Filed under: Handling Prospect,sales,selling — Paul McCord @ 8:40 am
Tags: , , ,

Avoiding Self-Sabotage on Sales Calls
by Art Sobczak

Art regularly responds to reader e-mails with hand ons, how- to type advice for becoming a better salesperson. Here’s part of an email he received from a reader, and his response.

“Art, an email I received from a vendor, in response to a question we asked about a policy issue, started out with, ‘You’re not going to like this, but …’

“I continued reading, now feeling bitter. However, what was said was really nothing more than what we already knew and expected.

“I would love to see your take on something like this. A piece on the things we do to sabotage ourselves when all we were intending to do was soften the cold hard reality.”

OK. Good idea. Let’s look at a few.
 
Pointing Out Negatives They: Probably Wouldn’t Notice

I was talking to guy about some training for his small business and mentioned I visited his website. He immediately apologized for some things (which he perceived as negatives) on the site I hadn’t even noticed. After he mentioned them, I guess I did recall them, but really didn’t feel they were negatives at the time.

Some people obsess about things that no one other than them would ever see. But, when they’re highlighted for us, then we tend to see them. For example, red cars in the parking lot outside your building. There. Now I bet that you’ll look for them.

And just think about anyone who has ever said, “Do I look fat in this?”

It’s All in the Positioning

I remember years ago when my kids were little, my wife made the comment, “I’ll let the kids know that they have to stay at Grandma’s house tonight since we’re going out.”

Of course she didn’t intend that to sound negative, but sometimes we say things that can be interpreted
differently than we intend (to say the least!). Leaving nothing to chance, I told her that I would tell them.

So, I put a different spin on it:

“Kids! Guess what? You GET to go spend the night at Grandma’s!”

“Yay!”, they screamed.

Giving TMI (Too Much Info)

I’ve heard many-a-sales rep talk too much about facts irrelevant to what the prospect/customer cared about. The danger here is creating objections.

A sales rep handled an incoming call where the buyer asked for information on a new calculator model he was looking carry in his catalog since he had heard good things about it. Understand now, that the inquirer was interested in placing a large order right then and there for an initial shipment. Things were progressing smoothly until the rep added, “Now of course, these don’t come with the AC adapter.”

The prospect immediately changed his tone and said, “Hmmm, I didn’t really expect them to, but now I’ll have to think about this a bit.” Lost sale.

Here are a few others:

Instead of, “I’m just calling today …”, try, “I’m CALLING today…”.

Instead of, “So you probably don’t want to buy?”, try, “Shall we move forward with the delivery?”

Instead of, “I imagine you’re not looking for another vendor?”, try, “What plans do you have for a backup vendor in case you need something and your present source doesn’t have what you need, when you need it?”

Instead of, “Well, it is expensive, the price is …”, try,”You’re getting (benefit) and (benefit) and it’s only…”

Instead of, “I’ll have to check on that for you.”, try, “I’ll be happy to research that for you.”

I have just scratched the surface here, and I’m sure there are plenty that sound like fingernails across a chalkboard. (I just realized that some people reading this might not have ever seen a chalkboard.)
 
If you have sabotaged a call with a phrase or question, or have a pet peeve, please share them with me and I’ll pass a few along to readers in a future issue.

For over 26 years Art Sobczak has helped sales pros say and do the right things to minimize resistance and rejection, and get “yes” answers by phone in their sales and prospecting. Get his free weekly emailed tips, see more examples of articles like this one, and hear recordings of actual calls at his Telesales Blog, http://www.TelesalesBlog.com

October 28, 2009

Interview of Sharon Drew Morgen on Buying Facilitation

I interview my friend, New York Times best-selling author and creator of Buying Facilitation®, Sharon Drew Morgen.  She discusses what Buying Facilitation is and her new book, Dirty Little Secrets: why buyers can’t buy and sellers can’t sell and what you can do about it:

Sharon Drew Morgen Interview

I encourage you to visit Sharon Drew’s website and grab a copy of her new book Dirty Little Secrets at either Amazon or the book’s website.

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